Burning fat, not simply dropping the pounds, is the true aim of anyone who is looking to lose weight. After all, it is the excess fat that is undesirable and unhealthy, for most of us who embark on a new fitness regime, not weight itself. We want to look toned and be healthy and it is only by ditching our fat that we can achieve those aims.
Despite what a lot of people think, you do not necessarily have to eat far less in order to lose fat and tone up. It’s more about eating the right things at the right time and doing enough of the right exercise to support your efforts. When you restrict food, you end up feeling hungrier and hungrier until you end up binging and piling on the pounds. What you actually need to do is get rid of empty calories and eat enough healthy whole foods that you never feel hungry, even though you will be taking in fewer calories (whole food tend to be far less calorie-dense). Eating this way will help to keep your metabolism revving so that you can burn off your fat stores with greater efficiency.
Of course, there are other things you can do to kickstart your metabolism and take your fat loss to the next level. Here are just a few of them:
Get More Sleep
When twins were monitored during a study in Finland, it was found that the twins who slept more experienced less stress and had less visceral fat than those who slept less. This would suggest that the more sleep you have, the less likely you are to gain fat, probably because you won’t be as stressed, which means that your body will produce less cortisol – a chemical which can promote fat storage.
Up Your Protein Intake
Protein is vital to the manufacture of lean muscle and it is recommended that you eat at least 0.36 grams of protein for every pound you carry on your body. However, there are experts who do not think this is enough and they believe that women should be eating at least 0.54 – 1 grams of protein per pound if they do any weight training at all, and if you want to get lean and burn more fat, resistance training really is a must.
Getting more protein is easier than you might think – a protein shake made with almond milk, a handful of nuts or a serving of hummus with carrot sticks are all great protein-heavy snacks that can help you boost your intake and start burning more fat.
Choose The Organic Option
It’s not cut and dry yet, but there is some research to suggest that people who eat a diet that is high in pesticides see a drop in metabolism that is greater than those who eat organic when they are trying to lose weight. It is thought that toxins are known as organochlorines, which are found in many common pesticides, could be interfering with the fat burning process, which could make it difficult to burn fat, even if you are doing all the right things.
Obviously, organic food is more expensive and depending on where you live, it can be pretty tough to find, but even if you can just replace a few staples with the organic version, it should help you to keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders as you work hard to ditch the weight.
Keep Your Cool
Okay, so it won’t make a huge amount of difference, but German scientists have discovered that drinking 6 glasses of cold water will help to raise your resting metabolism by around 50 calories. If you did that every day for a year it would be enough to burn off 5 pounds of excess fat, and considering it’s totally effort-free, it has to be worth a go, right? I mean you need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated anyway because when you are dehydrated you will burn fewer calories than would otherwise be the case.
Sink A Supplement
You should always do your research, but there are products you can find at the supplement store which may help to boost your metabolism and burn more fat more efficiently. You should never rely on them alone, but when added to a healthy diet and exercise regime, they could give you a much-needed boost.
Take A Stand
It stands to reason (pardon the pun) that the more time you spend standing the more calories, and therefore fat, you will burn. After all, it takes more effort to stand than it does to sit, right? That’s why standing desks have become more popular in recent years and why you should be aiming to stand up more even when you’re just watching Netflix or something that would usually see you sitting on your but.
Not convinced? Would it persuade you if you knew that a study conducted by Missouri University found that being inactive for more than 4 hours at a time caused an almost shut-down of a critical enzyme for the metabolism of cholesterol and burning of fat? That’s a pretty big incentive to stand up more and move around whenever you can, even the smallest of movements will help you to burn more fat.
Chilis With Everything
If you’re looking for another low-effort way to boost that metabolism, look no further than red hot chilli peppers, no not the band. It has been found that the capsaicin found in chilli peppers can set fire to your metabolism as well as your tastebuds. Eating just 1 tablespoon of peppers is enough to spike your metabolism by almost one quarter, although the effect is only temporary. So, have a serving of chilli with every meal.
Okay, so the benefits of breakfast have been oversold and you aren’t necessarily going to die or feel starving all day if you skip breakfast – some people find that intermittent fasting works very well for them (more on that later) but for mah people, eating a healthy breakfast is a great way to kickstart the metabolism and get them burning calories efficiently throughout the day.
Of course, fasting is a great way to deplete glycogen levels and get the body burning its own fat reserves for fuel, which is why some people not only skip breakfast each and every day but also stick to eating only in a short window or 4-8 hours every day. So, do you eat breakfast or not? There’s no way of telling which option will work for you, so experiment and see which way of eating results in the easiest and most significant levels of fat loss.
Get Your Caffeine Fix
We’re often told that caffeine is bad for us, and although it’s true it can make it harder for us to get to sleep if we have too much of it, when it comes to fat loss and fitness it can be a real help. Drinking caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and as a result, it can boost drinking a cup of coffee or two can raise your metabolism by as much as 8 percent or 174 calories. Tea is even better, with a single cup boosting metabolism by upwards of 12 percent.
Up Your Iron Intake
Iron is so important because it helps to carry oxygens to your muscles. You would not be able to effectively burn fat without it, but so many women are deficient in iron that it is not surprising they find it tough to lose weight or that they have to battle with a flagging metabolism. Luckily, it is easy to get more iron from healthy sources like spinach and beans, along with natural supplements like Spatone. Of course, if your iron levels are really low, you may need professional intervention from a doctor to get you back on track.
Fibre Fights Fat
Would it shock you to learn that fibre can increase your fat-burning potential by as much as 30 percent? Numerous studies have found that to be the case. They have also shown that the individuals who eat 25 grams or more of fibre each day are the less likely to gain weight over time. Get your fibre from healthy sources like whole grains, fruits and vegetables for optimum health.
Increase Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is vital to keeping muiscle tissue. Unfortunately, many people in the UK are deficient in this vital building block of good health. That’s why it’s recommended that we all take a supplement, although you should try to get as much as possible from sunlight and natural foods too.
There’s no substitute for a healthy diet and plenty of (preferably resistance-based) exercise if you want to burn fat and get toned and healthy, but doing some or all of the above will help to keep you on track and supercharge your metabolism. Start with small changes, and add more and more as you’re capable, for results that will last and lifestyle changes that will see you well.